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Kris Dunn declares ‘I’d be fine if [Celtics] selected me. I’d definitely be comfortable’ 06.22.16 at 6:21 pm ET
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Mar 19, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) shoots the ball past North Carolina Tar Heels forward Justin Jackson (44) in the second half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) says he’d be fine playing in Boston. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

As it becomes more and more likely the Celtics will wind up making their pick at No. 3, one of the likely candidates for selection is renewing his public affection for Boston. 

“I’d be fine if they selected me,” Kris Dunn said Wednesday in the final media availability before Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I’d definitely be comfortable. My friends and my family are right down the road.”

Dunn made headlines at the start of pre-draft workouts when reports came out that he did not want the Celtics to draft him. Last week, he denied that claim and reiterated it Wednesday in New York. 

Dunn also revealed that not only did he not work out for the Celtics, he added that didn’t formally workout for any team. The Providence College product, considered by many to be the top guard in the draft and a definitely Celtics possibility at No. 3, had two shoulder surgeries in his first two seasons at Providence. 

He tore his labrum in June 2012 and immediately underwent shoulder surgery immediately. He was able to recover and made his freshman debut in late December, playing 25 games that season and averaged 5.7 points. Then the next season, in Dec. 2013, Dunn had a second shoulder surgery and missed the rest of his sophomore season after playing only four games.

But Dunn recovered impressively in his final two seasons, winning back-to-back Big East defensive player of the year honors while establishing himself as one of the most explosive guards in college basketball at the basket. Dunn has rocketed up the mock draft boards of late, despite not working out for teams. 

The speculation around the Celtics includes the suggestion that they might draft him and trade either Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley to make room on their roster. 

In another bit of news Wednesday, Buddy Hield told reporters that the Celtics went out to California to see him work out twice. 

Wednesday also provided the first public glimpse of Dragan Bender, the 7-foot, 18-year-old Croatian forward/center who is considered a top-10 pick but has slid down many mock boards. 

“Anything’s possible,” Bender said. “It’s a lottery so you never know what’s going to happen. You just have to wait for that moment when they call your name. Whatever that place is, you just fulfill your dreams and that’s it.” 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Dragan Bender, Jaylen Brown
Celtics’ complete summer league schedule finalized 06.21.16 at 2:47 pm ET
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Celtics draft picks this Thursday will have a busy summer ahead of them. Now, we know their schedule. 

The Las Vegas Summer League finalized its schedule Tuesday, and it includes three games for the Celtics and a playoff schedule. 

The two venues are the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

The Celtics will play the Bulls on July 9 at Cox Pavilion (6 p.m. ET), the Suns on July 10 at Thomas & Mack Center (10:30 p.m. ET) and the Mavericks on July 12 at Cox Pavilion (6 p.m. ET). 

There will then be six days of playoffs from July 13-18. Earlier this month, the Utah Summer League announced its slate of games. The Celtics play Philadelphia on July 4, Utah on July 5 and San Antonio on July 7. The games on July 4 and 5 will be at Vivint Smart Home Arena while the July 7 contest is set for the University of Utah’s Huntsman Center.

Summer league play consists of draft picks, first-year free agents and second-year players. 

Read More: 2016 NBA Summer League, Boston Celtics, NBA, Utah Summer League
Celtics final mock: Dragan Bender is the pick at No. 3, picking a Prince at No. 16 06.20.16 at 7:13 pm ET
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Dragan Bender

Dragan Bender

In the days leading up to the Celtics’ most significant draft in the last ten years, it’s a good time to take a look at how they might approach their picks (if they keep all eight). 

In this mock, we propose the Celtics go with the player who can help them the most in the post. 

First round:

No. 3 – Dragan Bender: The Celtics have been scouting and watching him like a hawk, debating whether the 18-year-old could turn into the next Dirk Nowitzki. That watch is expected to continue Tuesday when they meet with the international talent privately in the Boston area. The 7-footer is a highly versatile player, who can play both forward positions and occasionally center. Right now, he’s primarily a power forward. Scouts believe the Croatian has all the necessary tools to become a classic stretch 4. With good ball handing, high basketball IQ, very good court vision and excellent passing skills, Bender is just about NBA ready on the offensive end. He can play the pick and roll as both a ball handler and as a screener, a rarity for an 18-year-old. Throw in the fact that he runs the open floor and can lead the fast break due to his good ball handling and is a quickly improving shooter with the potential to be a very good mid-range and long range threat, it’s easy to see why the Celtics see him as such a valuable investment with the third pick. Here’s the WEEI.com profile on Bender

No. 16 – Taurean Prince: Another versatile forward. At 6-foot-7, Prince is a 215-pound slightly shorter version of Diallo. He has long arms, and very good lateral quickness. Prince saw more playing time at Baylor than Diallo did at Kansas and has more maturity, as he played four years for the Bears. While Diallo is a post presence, Prince’s physical tools in addition to his defensive instincts and intensity projects him as a player capable of guarding both shooting guards, and a large portion of small forwards at the NBA level. Scouts love his developed skills while general managers sense a very high defensive IQ. Prince is the type of player who could transition from zone to the varied man-to-man schemes in the NBA. Here’s the WEEI.com profile on Prince.

No. 23 – Brice Johnson:  The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Johnson has the perfect mix of scoring instincts, size, mobility and championship pedigree. He’s an elite athlete who doesn’t force the issue offensively and never tries to do too much. He’s a four-year product of North Carolina whose shot selection is very good, explaining his high percentage from the field. He is a very effective scorer around the basket and at the rim, thanks in part to his quick leaping abilities. He’s very explosive in the open court and gets out on the fast break and runs the floor extremely well. If the Celtics get him at No. 23, they’re getting a very mobile, agile and coordinated for a player his size who can outrun other bigs in transition. Here’s more on Johnson

Second round: 

No. 31 – DeAndre Bembry: Celtics stay athletic in the second round, nabbing a flashy 6-foot-5 athletic wing from St. Joe’s in Philadelphia, with a flare for making highlight plays. This is an explosive player with a big wingspan that could electrify fans at the Garden. He’s very fast and thrives in transition. A smooth athlete who excels in the open floor, both with the ball or filling the lane. Has the shake and wiggle to get by defenders in ISO and create shots in the lane or at the rim and has a quick first step. Once at the basket, he’s considered an excellent finisher, very similar to Kris Dunn.  If the Celtics say goodbye to Evan Turner, Bembry is the kind of athlete who could step in and fill that role. Scouts like his ability to get his feet organized quickly when attacking the basket and his ability to get around the defense. He also possesses a mean Euro-step, a must for any player from 10 feet and closer to the bucket in today’s NBA.  Vision and passing skills also strong. Here’s the WEEI.com profile on Bembry

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Dragan Bender,
Full Court Press: What Game 7 could mean to future of Celtics, Warriors try not to join 2007 Patriots 06.18.16 at 9:42 pm ET
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Jun 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) reacts after being called for a foul in the second quarter in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love could be rejoicing after Game 7. Will it be his final game for Cleveland? (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Danny Ainge, son Austin and head coach Brad Stevens don’t have a horse in the race but they will be watching Game 7 of the NBA finals Sunday night with more than just a passing interest.

A pair of scoring forwards could be on the move after the game, and both have been rumored on the radar of the Celtics.  

Cleveland’s Kevin Love could be playing his final game in Cleveland if they decide to unload him this offseason. He has four years and approximately $93 million left on his $113 million deal, which includes a $25 million kiss in the final season (2019-20), when he will be 31. 

Golden State’s Harrison Barnes, 24, could be a much cheaper option. He is due a qualifying offer of about $5.2 million and is in the same contractual boat as Jared Sullinger. Both are set to become restricted free agents after next season but both could be cut loose after this season. Barnes has already rejected a four-year, $64 million deal, turning down the Warriors last September. 

Both players are represented by agent Jeff Schwartz, the same rep for projected No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram. Danny Ainge reportedly met recently with Schwartz and, while it certainly would not be uncommon for Ainge to talk with agents before next Thursday’s draft, it would be tampering for him to publicly discuss players currently under contract with other teams. 

A quick glance at Love’s stats in the NBA finals and it’s easy to understand why Celtics fans are so very skeptical of bringing his $93 million anchor to Boston. He’s averaged just seven points and 21 minutes in five games (DNP Gm 3). He’s again been beset by injuries (concussion) but when he has played, he’s looked out of place. It’s up to the Celtics to determine if that mostly because he’s being misused and kept on the perimeter or if he’s not looking for his shot. He is shooting just 36.8 percent from the floor in the finals and 38 percent in the postseason. On the bright side, he is averaging 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in 19 playoff games heading into Game 7 in Oakland. 

By comparison, Barnes is coming off his worst game of the postseason, missing all eight shots in Thursday’s Game 6 loss in Cleveland. He was held scoreless in 16 minutes. In Games 1, 3 and 4, he was in double figures and a key part of Golden State wins in two of them. But he went 2-for-14 in Game 5 last Monday and 0-for-8 on Thursday, making him 2-for-22 in potential title-clinching games so far. He is averaging nine points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 minutes during the playoffs. He is someone to keep an eye on in Game 7 if the Warriors need some offense. The “Death Lineup” has been exactly that to Barnes’ hopes of promoting his value to potential suitors this summer. 

We haven’t even mentioned the fact that LeBron James is a free agent this summer as well. There always exists the possibility that James could leave Cleveland, especially if the Cavs come back and finish off the first 3-1 comeback in NBA finals history. Not likely, but then again, it is LeBron and worth mentioning, even if in passing. 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 NBA Finals, Boston Celtics, Harrison Barnes
Austin Ainge: Celtics have No. 3 pick down to ‘three or four guys’ 06.18.16 at 2:17 pm ET
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WALTHAM – If the Celtics hold onto their first first-round pick, they have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to do. 

Austin Ainge, director of player personnel, acknowledged Saturday during pre-draft workouts that they have a good sense of the players they want to pick. He just wouldn’t identify them. 

The obvious candidates are Buddy Hield, Dragan Bender and Kris Dunn, with maybe a Jamal Murray or Jaylen Brown getting some attention in discussions in the war room. 

“We’ve been narrowing at this point. We have them in groups more than specific (players). Maybe for our first pick we have it narrowed to these three or four guys, the second group a little bigger – eight or 10, because you don’t know whose going to be there. You do your best at guessing and debating the groups,” Ainge said. 

Ainge said Saturday that he hasn’t heard from Dunn’s camp as to when or if the Celtics will get a chance to see the two-time Big East defensive player of the year in person or what may come of Tuesday’s private (closed to media) get-together with Bender. 

Identifying what the Celtics are going to do with their picks at No. 16 and 23 is a lot trickier because, as Ainge pointed out Saturday, not even the Celtics are sure what they’re going to do.

“It’s hard to guess what other teams are going to do, especially after the first couple of picks,” Ainge said. “It gets harder. All the media reports and discussions we’ve had with other teams, we still don’t know how the draft is going to go. Other teams [don’t know]. For instance, we don’t know who we’re going to take at 16, so how can I anticipate what another team is going to do? So these things are hard. So, you’ve just got to take the player you like the most and not outsmart yourself.

“Historically, those assumptions get proven wrong all the time. So, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I think last year was a case of that. There’s always surprises. We’re doing this all the time. How are you feeling? Let’s write it up. Let’s go to 20 names today, or 50 names, or 100 names, 10 names. We do those exercises all the time. It happens a lot.

“There are those types of discussions. Sometimes you do overall, sometimes you do by position. We’ll do guys that have certain skill sets – try to break ties. We were all in the office watching video late last night. Talking about it, trying to figure it out.”

The tie-breaker? Well, naturally it’s Danny Ainge, who has stockpiled three picks in the first round and five more in the second. 

“For every pick range there’s guys we’re fighting between and trying to figure it out. We have a lot of picks,” Austin Ainge said. 

Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge,
Austin Ainge recalls Marcus Smart ‘was horrible in his workout’ before callback 06.18.16 at 2:08 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

WALTHAM – The Celtics are dotting their ‘I’s’ and crossing their ‘T’s’ this week. 

Some of those last-minute preparations for Thursday’s draft include calling players back for a second look. 

Austin Ainge, director of player personnel, reminded everyone Saturday, during the final media availability of group workouts in Waltham, that there is a certain value to bringing a player back for a second look, also known as a callback. 

Perhaps, the most recent example of this on a significant scale is Marcus Smart, the guard out of Oklahoma State taken sixth overall by the Celtics in the 2014 draft. 

“Marcus it was more like he was the guy we kinda wanted to take. And we all liked him a lot. Then he was horrible in his workout,” Ainge said. “And so when we went back and we watched film, we were like, ‘We do like this guy. Let’s give him another chance.’ So, that was the instance with that. We’ve done callbacks in years past where we didn’t end up taking the guy.

There have been callbacks where the guy was banged up or tired and so we said, ‘Alright, let’s look at you again.’ Or sometimes it’s as much as we found some things out in their background check and we want to talk to them about it. Or our doctor wants to take another look. All of these are reasons to have a guy come back.”

How different did Smart look the second time around?

“Significantly. He made shots. He was the Marcus that — he had more fire, just was the Marcus we had seen all season,” Ainge added. “Both of Marcus’ workouts were competitive workouts.

“It’s just case by case. Some guys are just really scheduled all the way up and some guys have room to come back and it just depends on everybody.”

Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart,
Celtics mock draft: Going big with Cheick Diallo, Ante Zizic, getting a steal with DeAndre Bembry 06.16.16 at 12:43 pm ET
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Could DeAndre Bembry be a steal for the Celtics?  (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

Could DeAndre Bembry be a steal for the Celtics? (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

A week before the Celtics hold the most significant draft in the last ten years, it’s a good time to take a look at how the Celtics might approach their picks (if they keep all eight). 

In this mock, we propose the Celtics use a bulk of their picks on bigs, both versatile and international in flavor. 

First round:

No. 3 – Buddy Hield: The most-proven pure scorer available in the draft after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.  Very rarely do players improve dramatically between their junior, and senior years of college, but Oklahoma senior, Buddy Hield has taken his game to the next level during his 4th collegiate season … Always a strong outside shooter, Hield improved his 3-point percentage to 52.3 percent on 7.9 attempts per game in his senior season at Oklahoma.  He has definite NBA-quality range, and even beyond, making him a legit threat to be guarded out to 26 feet away from the hoop. Here’s more on Hield

No. 16 – Cheick Diallo: Celtics get their rim protector here. A definite project as an offensive player, he is NBA-ready defensively in the post. He can run the floor the way Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge envision a big man running with the Celtics. Diallo has great speed up and down the court and has shown a definite intensity that all defensive forces in the paint need. He LOVES to run the court. Cheick also has good length. With a 7-foot-4 wingspan and a standing reach of just over nine feet, he projects as a solid NBA post presence. Scouts don’t consider him to be a great jumper to block shots but scouts love his timing as a shot blocker, especially from the weak side. His biggest area of growth will be in picking up NBA schemes, especially in a league where defending the pick-and-roll effectively is a must. He struggled at times at Kansas to stay on the floor, mainly because of his ability to pick up offense.  Here’s the WEEI.com scouting report on Diallo

No. 23 – Taurean Prince: Another versatile forward. At 6-foot-7, Prince is a 215-pound slightly shorter version of Diallo. He has long arms, and very good lateral quickness. Prince saw more playing time at Baylor than Diallo did at Kansas and has more maturity, as he played four years for the Bears. While Diallo is a post presence, Prince’s physical tools in addition to his defensive instincts and intensity projects him as a player capable of guarding both shooting guards, and a large portion of small forwards at the NBA level. Scouts love his developed skills while general managers sense a very high defensive IQ. Prince is the type of player who could transition from zone to the varied man-to-man schemes in the NBA. Here’s the WEEI.com scouting report on Prince

Second round: 

No. 31 – DeAndre Bembry: A flashy 6-foot-5 athletic wing from St. Joe’s in Philadelphia, with a flare for making highlight plays. This is an explosive player with a big wingspan that could electrify fans at the Garden. Very fast and thrives in transition … A smooth athlete who excels in the open floor, both with the ball or filling the lane. Has the shake and wiggle to get by defenders in ISO and create shots in the lane or at the rim … Quick first step … Excellent finisher. Very similar to Kris Dunn in his ability to finish at the basket.  If the Celtics say goodbye to Evan Turner, Bembry is the kind of athlete who could step in and fill that role. Scouts like his ability to get his feet organized quickly when attacking the basket and his ability to get around the defense. He also possesses a mean Euro-step, a must for any player from 10 feet and closer to the bucket in today’s NBA.  Vision and passing skills also strong. If he’s available here, this is a steal for the Celtics. 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics,
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